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H1-B Visas: Obstacles and Further Restriction in 2020

Within the next year, H1-B Immigration visas could fundamentally change. If trends continue, the Administration will continue to tighten and restrict the H1-B application process, which could prove bad for companies and individuals who depend on this visa to employ workers and find work.

The denial rate for H1-B Visas has spiked over the past four years, and It seems unlikely that the USCIS crackdown will abate in 2020. A USCIS spokesman claimed the agency’s recent moves are “designed to protect U.S. workers, cut down on frivolous petitions, strengthen the transparency of employment-based visa programs, and improve the integrity of the immigration petition process.”

Most instances of H-1B visa denial do not attract appeals by employers, according to new research. In the fiscal year 2019, 69,543 initial H-1B denials were recorded, but only 1,395 cases attracted appeals. Appeals can take up to two years to be resolved and since most companies need to fill an immediate vacancy, they cannot afford to wait that long. Filing an appeal is a lengthy and cumbersome process, often discouraging employers from seeking that resolution.

That crackdown has taken many forms beyond rejecting initial H-1B petitions. USCIS has pushed to end H-4 EAD, which allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work; its case for cancellation is currently going through the court system. USCIS has also pushed a $10 registration fee for H-1B applications, and the companies petitioning for the visas are being subjected to more intensive questions about what these workers will do if approved.

In response to the crackdown, many individuals and firms have begun lawsuits against the Federal government. Between 2017 and 2019, around 100 lawsuits have been filed. No matter the decision on these lawsuits, if trends continue through 2020 and beyond, USCIS and the Administration are going to ask sponsors and individuals for more evidence, money, and paperwork for their H-1B petitions.

With rejections and reviews likely to increase, it will make it harder to work in the U.S. using an H1-B Visa for those involved and their families. It is more important now than ever to have adequate representation for you and your family.

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